Do Mexicans Start Small Businesses?

[¡Ask a Mexican!] And why do young Mexican men wear three T-shirts in 100-degree heat?

DEAR MEXICAN: I'm a Mexican who owns a successful wholesale liquidation business, which happens to be an industry dominated by Jews and Asians and some gringos. So why does almost everyone, including mexicanos, who visit my warehouse think my business—or any successful business, for that matter—is owned by a Jew or a gabacho? Can't a pinche Mexican own a successful business? Just because I am 5-foot-4, am named Armando, and don't resemble the typical "business type" or have an MBA? My customers always assume I'm the sales rep or the forklift operator and ask to speak to the owner or "El Arabe," and almost always include a statement such as "El dueño es judio, ¿verdad?" Well, no, the damn owner is not judio; soy yo, si este mexicanito es el dueno de esta bodega. Like only Jews can own a business? Like the stupid joke says, "Two Jews walked into a bar . . . and bought the place." Yeah, I don't think it's funny, either.

Que la chingada, attention everyone: My pockets may not be as deep as those fucking camellos, but we are getting there. Échame la mano to my Mexican-owned business. I'm thinking about putting up a sign such as those during the Rodney King riots: "MEXICAN OWNED." Or maybe not, as mis gabacho clients se van asustar.

P.S. A Mexican designed our website, not Patrick or Chang. I support the cause.

Mark Dancey

Details

¡ASK A MEXICAN! VIDEOS ARE BACK! Gentle cabrones, after a years-long hiatus, I've relaunched the video version of this columna. Follow my weekly rants on Twitter (click on the hashtag #askamexican) and ask away. Enjoy!

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Mexican Businessman—Believe It

DEAR WAB: Okay, I get it—you're not a Jew, you don't particularly care for chinitos, and you sure as hell don't like Arabs (calling Arabs "camels"? Everyone knows Mexicans call Arabs "talibanes" if they want to be insulting). But the reason why people are so surprised you own a business is because there's nowhere near enough of ustedes. "Mexican-American Entrepeneurship," a 2008 study by Robert W. Fairlie and Christopher Woodruff, showed that only 5.1 percent of Mexican-American men were business owners, compared to 12.6 percent of gabachos. The researchers blamed—surprise, surpise!—U.S. immigration policy that kept Mexicans undocumented and away from the roads to owning a legitimate business. On the other hand, recent research by USC professor Jody Agius Vallejo and others show Mexican-Americans getting into the middle class by starting their own businesses and, in some ways, succeeding more than other immigrants based on how low they started. And the Mexican would argue that Mexicans are born small-business owners. Selling oranges at freeway exits? Small businessperson. Tamales from car trunks? Small businessperson. Jornaleros, cutting grass for gabachos and screwing wives gabachos don't screw properly? Small businessperson, small businessperson, small businessperson.

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DEAR MEXICAN: Why do my 90-pound junior-high students wear three and four white T-shirts (all sized 6x or larger) layered one atop another in 100-degree heat . . . then complain about the heat?

Maestro de Foto

DEAR PHOTOGRAPHY TEACHER GABACHO: Por pendejos—DUH. Then again, logic and fashion sense among American high schoolers of any ethnicity go together like the Mexican national soccer team and success at the World Cup.

 
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22 comments
bradjones791
bradjones791

Of course Mexican's start businesses. It's called "Lawn Service."

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

I have never stopped to ask if a Mexican (or other) restaurant is owned by Mexicans, or whatever. If the food is good and is reasonbly priced, that's all I care about. If it's a boot-strapped business, I love and admire that, but that's not what keeps my business.

BillxT
BillxT topcommenter

The story brings to mind a local family de Mexico D. F. Papa Wenceslau started as a kitchen helper about 25 years ago, apparently using it as an opportunity to learn the business;l The family now runs three stores of their own. There's hope.

hperez03
hperez03

Gustavo,

Rumor is you are a judge on the Burrito Bracket. Please dismiss the rumor that burritos are not Mexican, they are native of the Sonora/Sinaloa Region and imported into the US by immigrants the same as the taco the CHimichanga on the other hand the same as the CHili is an entirely US cuisine invention!

hperez03
hperez03

Gustavo,

As an executive of the Burrito Bracket contest you need to dismiss the rumor that Burritos are not originally from Mexico, which they are Sonora/Sinaloa. The Chimichanga and hCHili on the other hand they are not those are exactly South West cuisine

whitefear
whitefear

Sorry Mexican Businessmen,  but its a sad truth you will have to continue dealing with and is a vestige of the myth perpetuated by Americans that Mexicans cant succeed in this country. Sadly,too many Mexicans have "drunk the Kool Aid" so to speak which explains their reaction when they realize YOU ARE the owner of said operation! The best defense against this attitude is continued success! And don't worry about your "racist" attitude affecting your business, I've know plenty of Asian and Jewish business owners who thought none too kindly about "OTHER" races too and they're doing just fine thank you! Just ask DONALD T.Sterling ..he's being "punished" for his blatantly racist attitudes and illegal business practices to the tune of  $2 billion big ones! SWEET!

trevorj842
trevorj842

I am a black business owner and much of my business is done out of OC.  Leaving aside for the moment all consideration as to whether or not someone seriously wrote this in to Gustavo (I find it hard to believe), I can hardly imagine building a successful business anywhere---especially in California....if I had negative attitudes about Jews, "Gringos" [why is it "OK"to call Whites out of their name, but no one else?], Asians, or Hispanics/Latinos.  If someone thinks that you are the worker at the business, not the owner----who cares!!? That can sometimes work towards your favor.  At the end of the day, you're still the owner; you still call the shots.  If anything, it's a testimony to your ingenuity and genius.  Ergo, quit complaining; it's a non-issue.  Believe me, I have had a very few people make comments here and there [and, surprise surprise---they were Latino---not White].  Could I take offense? Sure, but why bother?  Life is too short.  I'm making an honest living, I'm paying exorbitant taxes (ha!), and I'm trying to build a good life.  I really don't see what the big deal is, but then again, my opinion and .50cents will get you a cup of coffee...

trevorj842
trevorj842

I am a black business owner and much of my business is done out of OC.  Leaving aside for the moment all consideration as to whether or not someone seriously wrote this in to Gustavo (I find it hard to believe), I can hardly imagine building a successful business anywhere---especially in California....if I had negative attitudes about Jews, "Gringos" [why is it "OK"to call Whites out of their name, but no one else?], Asians, or Hispanics/Latinos.  If someone thinks that you are the worker at the business, not the owner----who cares!!? That can sometimes work towards your favor.  At the end of the day, you're still the owner; you still call the shots.  If anything, it's a testimony to your ingenuity and genius.  Ergo, quit complaining; it's a non-issue.  Believe me, I have had a very few people make comments here and there [and, surprise surprise---they were Latino---not White].  Could I take offense? Sure, but why bother?  Life is too short.  I'm making an honest living, I'm paying exorbitant taxes (ha!), and I'm trying to build a good life.  I really don't see what the big deal is, but then again, my opinion and .50cents will get you a cup of coffee.

PaulyWalnuts
PaulyWalnuts

Yeah, I would not support that guys business using derogatory names.

Omar Arias
Omar Arias

Raza hating on raza looking in the next mans plate, instead of worrying on what s on mine.

David Tor Rom
David Tor Rom

I think you got it a bit wrong there. The majority of Mexicans do not own registered business or with a business license or any kind of stupid government paperwork. I've owned several business and who needs to fill up that long ass city permit, insurance, bookkeeping and accounting? I am up for chingarle hasta que de acabe el jale. I still pay taxes and a lot ask Home depot who doesn't allow me to get away from sales taxes, tools, materials and of course lunch comes included as part of payroll if not my workers switch. So I am one of the thousands who do it. Not only tamaleros do it, painters, mechanics etc.etc. and when someone ask me about the owner I tell them is someone else so they would not payment with beans! I say cash is a great negotiators and el chino may give you a discount if you do that! Lol

mehiconoesbueno
mehiconoesbueno

lol, the only business this pendejo owns is the one where he pimps out his wife for donkey shows in T.J.... but in her case, one cant really tell who is the donkey and who is the woman...

Isabel Jaimes
Isabel Jaimes

If we could be more supportive verbally instead of calling someone we hope succeeds a pendejo o saying vas a ver I'm sure the pendejo trying would do mejor. Segun mi amà dice!

Susana Ely
Susana Ely

I imagine the percentage of Mexican-American women business owners is even less :/

centrifuge909
centrifuge909

Perhaps it's because his vocabulary parallels that of a common street thug. Chambers of Commerce, business networking groups, etc., don't usually enjoy associating with blatantly uneducated speak and sub-par racial ideals. Potential customers/clients usually don't either.

I like how he works in an "industry dominated by Jews, Asians, and Gringos"....yet refers to them as "Jews, Asians, and Gringos" lol

This is why people of that level don't usually own their own business.

DonAlbertoDoyle
DonAlbertoDoyle

My evidence is purely anecdotal, but I'd have to agree here.  The businesses I interacted with when I lived in the States that were owned and run by Mexicans, Centro-Americanos, and Brasilianos were largely flying under the radar.  I bet the rate of entrepreneurship is higher than the official statistics.  And I agree as well that it's not a matter of tax-dodging, but merely not wanting to attract the heat from some racist asshole inspector who's got a hard-on to bust him some uppity wetbacks.

melapelas
melapelas

You must be a customer most likely getting it from the donkey

whitefear
whitefear

@mehiconoesbueno Wow!  What an ASSHOLE! Good  thing racism doesN'T EXIST RIGHT? wHY AREN'T ALL THE WHITE PEOPLE CALLING THIS GUY OUT ON HIS DISGUSTING REMARKS? INSTEAD ONLY GETTING YOUR PANTIES IN A BUNCH WHENEVER GUSTAVO USES THE TERM "GABACHO"? ...JUST A THOUGHT

 
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